Prizewinning novelist Andrew O’Hagan’s The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe is a literary comedy full of philosophy, comedy and heartbreak.
‘The book is a miracle,’ wrote Edna O’Brien, ‘and already a classic’.
For this special event, Andrew O’Hagan leads an ensemble reading of Maf the Dog with some of Britain’s leading actors, including Ian MacDiarmid (Six Characters in Search of an Author, Star Wars) and Suzanne Bertish (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Hunger.)
(However, if cheap and cheerful is more your thing, try this watch instead – currently on offer at Ebay and various online stores. My husband bought this for me on my birthday – it’s cute as a button, keeps time, and cost around £2 including speedy delivery from China!)
“When you think of photographs of famous people you think of the paparazzi. But when you see Phil Stern’s photographs of Hollywood icons like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean you think of art. Not only are his photos moments captured in time, but they are also art – photos of an era long gone. Phil Stern managed to break down the wall of celebrity and show people for who they really were. When you’re talking iconic photographers you can’t really look any further.”
A 1954 X-ray of Marilyn Monroe’s chest is reported to have sold for $45,000 (about £30,000) at the ‘Hollywood Legends’ auction in Las Vegas this weekend. Here’s the item description from Julien’s Auctions:
X-ray of Marilyn Monroe’s chest. Printed on the x-ray is the following information, “Cedars of Lebanon Hospital/Drs. E. Freedman and S. Finck/ Name Di Maggio Marilyn/ No. 50612 Date 11-10-54/ Ref. By Dr. L. Krohn.” As a radiology resident at Cedars, a young doctor obtained these x-rays. When he taught at the school himself, he used these x-rays to ensure that students were paying attention. Monroe was said to have known about the x-rays and their use, about which she said “Isn’t that sweet.” Monroe’s hospital visit was said to be for her chronic endometriosis – or as her doctor’s described it, “For correction of a female disorder she has suffered for years.” Accompanied by a copy of the X-Ray. 17 by 13 3/4 inches
It’s hard to know what to make of Marilyn’s comment at the time, or how she might have felt about this sale.
The X-Ray dates from November 1954, when Marilyn underwent surgery to relieve her chronic endometriosis. Photos taken of her leaving Cedars of Lebanon Hospital the following day showed her to be extremely distressed by the paparazzi’s presence.
To illustrate this point, I have posted the least upsetting photo from this occasion above (I have no intention of posting the X-ray here. This is a personal decision, those who wish to see it can search on Google.)
In The X-Rays of Others, an article for yesterday’s Huffington Post, Dr Elaine Schattner criticises the auction:
It seems ironic that Monroe, who was hospitalized for gynecological reasons and died childless, has no descendants to hold her records near, to intervene or somehow say “no, the x-rays are off-limits.” Rather, it’s her doctor’s children who’ve cut the deal.
I can’t help thinking that she, who struggled so in her life, in and out of strangers’ households, love affairs and flicks, is defenseless now again. The films render her vulnerable, again, to more inspection. The loss of privacy is irrevocable, a violation after death.
Along with Jane Russell, her co-star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn’s foot and handprints were immortalised in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard on the historic ‘Walk of Fame’. To this day it remains a popular haunt for MM fans worldwide.
The British pop star, Cheryl Cole, has told Company magazine of her most recent beauty SOS:
“I had a disaster last year. I tried to pluck my eyebrows like Marilyn Monroe’s. I saw a programme on her and thought: ‘She’s amazing. I want her eyebrows.’ But I went too far. Everyone was asking if I’d had Botox.”